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Greg Smith, VP and GM, Xerox Mortgage Services (Atlanta)
Greg Smith, VP and GM, Xerox Mortgage Services (Atlanta)

2009 Bank Tech Forecast: Less Paper Can Help Ailing Mortgage Industry

While there is no magic cure to surviving an economic downturn, it is commonsense that anything lenders can do to reduce costs will help. There are a couple of bright-spot opportunities on which mortgage bankers can focus. One is the current advancements in technology that enable less paper, or "paper-light," mortgage processes. The collaborative nature of mortgage processing requires solutions that help to reduce or even eliminate paper at numerous steps of the process. These steps are often found outside the lenders' walls, as a mortgage can require anywhere from five to 10 parties who need to collaborate with the lender in order to get the transaction completed.

Electronic loan processing can eliminate millions of sheets of paper while enabling faster and more streamlined communication with essential business partners. Providing online access to all stakeholders in the mortgage cycle not only reduces storage, printing and shipping costs, but also the time to process a loan. This paper-light process also helps companies meet their sustainability goals. Faster, more environmentally friendly mortgages are two critical differentiators that can help banks attract and retain more customers.

Second, the overall adoption of software-as-a-service solutions will help the industry. Many banks have implemented SaaS applications in areas including human resources and CRM. That trend will continue as IT shops will be challenged to do more with less. SaaS solutions that are focused on solving specific business and cost problems for lenders will getting more attention in 2009. They are typically much less expensive and faster to start than traditional in-house software deployments. This helps lenders achieve material savings faster.

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